Oyster mushrooms are becoming one of the most popular gourmet mushrooms, making it easy to find recipes that include them and restaurants that serve them. When you imagine this fungi variety, you likely picture a tan or light brown color; this is the most common variety, known as the Pearl Oyster. But at R&R Cultivation, we like things to be more colorful! We grow several different oyster mushroom species that vary in color from blue to yellow to pink. If you’ve ever spotted our oyster mushrooms at a farmers market, grocery store, or online, you may have wondered how the colors differ. Here’s the 411 on all three varieties!
Blue Oyster mushrooms are bluish-gray in color and grow in clusters with domed or flat caps. They tend to be slightly more rounded than the other varieties, although the structures of all three are very similar. Blue oysters taste similar to the Pearl Oyster mushrooms you may have tried before, and they hold up nicely in a variety of dishes.
The Joys of Golden Oyster Mushrooms
Golden Oyster mushrooms are the “shiniest” species we grow! Their brilliant yellow caps nicely contrast their white gills and stems to create a beautiful mushroom (two words you don’t often hear together). These oyster mushrooms have a distinctly aromatic scent that can add a surprising amount of flavor and fragrance to a dish. They will brown up when cooked, but they retain some of their golden hue.
Of all the oyster mushrooms, our Pink Oysters turn the most heads. Most people who spot us at the farmers market or see our products at their co-op have never seen a pink mushroom. They often wonder whether the flavor and texture are distinct, or if the pink color is just a “gimmick.” Actually, these mushrooms do have a distinctly woody flavor – it’s stronger than the other oysters. They also tend to be slightly more sturdy and woody in texture. While the pink color does fade as the mushrooms cook, they have much more to offer than just a pop of color! These mushrooms are a great “meaty” alternative in soups and stews.
Choosing Oyster Mushrooms
So, if you need oyster mushrooms for a recipe, which color should you choose? All three varieties are somewhat similar in flavor, so if you’re just starting to cook with gourmet mushrooms and don’t care as much about their subtle differences, you can choose whichever color speaks to you that day! If you’d like to experiment more with the different colors of oyster mushrooms, we recommend trying a bit of each after a simple sauté to see if you can taste the differences. You may find that you prefer different species of oyster mushrooms for different preparations and dishes. But don’t sweat it if you love them all equally! Oyster mushrooms are extremely versatile, so any color you choose is sure to taste great in your dish.